Streaming for beginners

Want more video and television content? You can with our simple guide to streaming.

Mature woman streaming video on tablet wearing headphones

Streaming has become very popular recently and is now the most popular way to listen to music or watch content in the US. Australians aren’t far behind in adopting the affordable new technology.

Streaming data means to receive data as a steady, continuous flow. For the purpose of video and music, this means that the content can be watched instantly, without having to wait for the entire file to download. You’ve probably streamed before, using websites such as YouTube, but streaming has grown so much that you might be surprised by just how much content is available to stream, and how affordable it is.

How to stream to your devices
Streaming services are available on PC and Mac and by simply visiting the website you can watch content on your computer. So if you have a recent laptop, you may be able to plug it straight in to your TV to watch whatever you want on your TV. Check and see if your TV and laptop have HDMI inputs. If they do, you can run an HDMI cable between the two and enjoy your content on the big screen.

All streaming providers will also have apps available on iTunes and Google Play so you can watch content on your smartphone or tablet, which is great for watching in bed or around the house. Just make sure you don’t accidentally use your mobile data plan, as streaming will tear through your data plan very quickly.

The easiest way to stream content on your TV is probably to purchase a Google Chromecast. This device plugs in to your TV and is controlled using a smartphone or tablet.

A Google Chromecast costs $59 and is easy to set up and install. They’re available from plenty of electronics stores in Australia, including Officeworks and JB HiFi.  

Popular streaming services
The best thing about streaming services is that you can try before you buy. All the services listed below offer free one-month trials.

Netflix Australia – $8.99 to $14.99 per month
The most popular streaming option worldwide, Netflix Australia offers a large range of TV series, movies and documentaries, including popular original content such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.

Available on: Chromecast, PC, Mac, Android, iPad/iPhone, and certain Sony, LG, Philips, Panasonic, Hisense and Samsung Smart TVs.

Stan – $10 per month
Selection of TV shows and movies including original Aussie TV series Wolf Creek and No Activity, as well as classics such as Seinfeld and Twin Peaks.
Available on: Chromecast, PC, Mac, Android, iPad/iPhone, and certain Sony, LG and Samsung Smart TVs.

Quickflix – starting at $10 per month, one-month free trial

7,000 hours of content is available with Quickflix, who offer streaming subscriptions and/or a postal disc rental service (with no late fees). Prices vary depending on which plan you choose, and while some content is available to stream as part of the subscription fee, other premium content must be paid for.

Available on: Chromecast, PC, Mac, Android, iPad/iPhone, and certain Samsung, Sony, Panasonic and LG Smart TVs.

MUBI – $9.99 per month

For the film buffs out there, MUBI offers a new film every day that can be watched for up to 30 days, so at any point in time you have 30 films to choose from. MUBI offers a broad range of international films, from big-budget award winners to overlooked independents.

Available on: Chromecast, PC, Mac, Android, iPad/iPhone, and some Samsung Smart TVs.

The services above all offer subscriptions, but if you prefer paying a fee for each piece of content you would like to watch, you may want to look at Dendy Direct, BigPond Movies, Google Play Movies or iTunes. have a great comparison of Aussie streaming providers to help you choose. Their chart is comprehensive and available here.

Do you have a streaming service already? Which sounds the most enticing to you?



    To make a comment, please register or login

    15th Dec 2016
    There are also a lot of free movies and TV shows on the internet which you can stream for free from your iPad to TV via Chromecast or Apple TV or with a Smart TV. Visual and audio are usually pretty good although the screen size is a bit smaller. Search under "free movies" and you will find loads of enetertainment for nix.
    15th Dec 2016
    As per Fast Eddie comments, why on Earth would you pay to watch a movie or TV series, when there are so many sites that stream, these for free.

    Most of these sites are better accessed using an IPad or Tablet, and using an Apple TV device to stream to your TV.

    I do not recommend using a Laptop or Desk Computer, just to be on the safe side, as some of these free sites have some malware etc.
    15th Dec 2016
    Tiny, a LOT of people pay to watch a TV series or a movie through streaming services like NetFlix, Stan, Presto, Foxtel, etc - have you ever heard of any of them? They DO charge for a subscription. AND, I have mentioned iPad, as you did not seem to read, nor even understand, my comment, nor did I recommend using the other internet devices. Please take a moment or two, small one, to read in the future.
    16th Dec 2016
    Maybe big mouth you should learn to read. I was agreeing with your comments, I just added a few extra woods of advice on using Laptops etc. Yes I have heard of those you mention, we had Netflix until the American version was blocked.
    Ted Wards
    15th Dec 2016
    This isnt new, I have been streaming movies, television shows and music for 5 years. So much so now I never go to the movies or watch television. There is a site that has every television show ever made that you can watch whatever series you want. With new series you can watch them months before they come on tv in Australia. You can also watch series that will never get on free to air in Australia. Its funny an article about this new sensation thats actually not a new sensation. With VPN's becoming more affordable and accessible, streaming is easier than ever and the legality issue is avoided.
    Ted Wards
    15th Dec 2016
    I only use my laptop and have never had an issue with malware. The malware is more of a danger if you download them which I never do as its illegal and causes many problems. I also dont pay to access sites like stan because they do the exact same thing as I do and charge you access fees!
    15th Dec 2016
    In addition to Ted's info, downloading uses you data as well as making you prone to malware. If you have unlimited data usage the download cost is irrelevant, but the chances of a virus, etc is heightened. Good luck.
    micky d.
    15th Dec 2016
    Fast Eddie, you seem full-bottle on these matters. from my question you will realise that I know little of near-nothing about this matter. If you would be kind enough to answer this simple question, I will be highly appreciative and I'm sure this will help others who might also be battling to understand.
    I have a limited internet plan. I do have a wi-fi tablet.
    Very many thanks for any explanation/s. Should they require more than is warranted on this forum, I will understand.
    If I buy and install the Chromecast "thingy", as has been suggested will...will I, when streaming any of these free movies, use any of my data ?
    15th Dec 2016
    Hi, Micky d. Yes, Google Chromecast will provide you with a Netflix and Stan app and you can stream movies without the use of an iPad. Yes, it will use your data while streaming, but the amount used depends greatly on what definition you choose to view - standard, HD, and Ultra HD in ascending that order. We have Netflix's basic one-screen HD package for $8.95 a month which suits us as the variety is fairly good as is the quality of reception, and, if you are concerned about gB's used per hour of viewing, Netflix uses the least of those offering streaming subscriptions. We have Apple TV rather than Chromecast, but they will do the same job, and unlimited monthly data usage for our streaming, laptop, and iPads. Have a look at Safari or Google under something like "Can I stream Netflix with Chromecast?" or "WhAt is the hourly data usage of Stan, Netflix, and Foxtel?" or "What is the difference between Apple TV and Chromecast?", as well as the other info sites under these topics and you will be up to speed in no time. Good luck and happy viewing. All the best - F.E.
    micky d.
    15th Dec 2016
    Thanks Fast Eddie .

    You're a champ.
    Will venture forth.
    Much appreciated.

    16th Dec 2016
    I love watching all the old classics on the internet for FREE

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